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We are using our foundation @virginunite to coordinate raising money for longer-term reconstruction projects. Virgin Unite is also working with @unitebvi and @virginlimitededition to support the local BVI communities. They will be working with local organisations to identify the ongoing needs of affected individuals, families and communities affected by this disaster. We will support the mid to long term efforts on the ground and help provide support as those affected recover from the disaster. Please donate what you can http://virg.in/oxN
Last week, as Hurricane Irma ripped through the Caribbean, billionaire businessman Richard Branson rode out the Category 5 storm’s assault on Necker Island, his private estate, by hunkering down with his family and staff in a wine cellar.
Now, Branson has taken to social media and elsewhere to document the damage to his island and call for the willing to donate to relief efforts throughout the British Virgin Islands and Caribbean as a whole.
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Much of the buildings and vegetation on Necker has been destroyed or badly damaged. But British Virgin Islands Hurricane #Irma story is not about Necker – it is about the tens of thousands of people who have lost their homes and their livelihoods. @virginunite is coordinating aid to local BVI families & communities affected – please donate to help http://www.virgin.com/unite/bvi-community-support-appeal
In a blog post on the Virgin company website, Branson details the damage further and blames Irma’s destruction on climate change.
Branson points out that everyone who stayed on the island during the storm is alive and well, but that much of the island’s vegetation and many of the buildings were damaged or destroyed. However, he says that he and his team have gone out to nearby islands to offer aid, and the damage was even worse. He notes that while there are reports of “civil unrest,” that “everyone is coming together to help and support one another.”
However, the BVI needs an enormous amount of help to recover from the widespread devastation. Our thoughts are with all the people and regions hit by Hurricane Irma, and all those in the US communities currently facing the storm. What makes the Virgin Islands unique is its isolated location — every island has been devastated, so there is no support to come from nearby. We must get more help to the islands to rebuild homes and infrastructure and restore power, clean water and food supplies.
Branson also calls for a “Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan” for the region from the U.K. government in order to rebuild infrastructure and make it more resilient and able to face down the challenges presented by “what is likely to be a higher intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, as the effects of climate change continue to grow.”
(Via Virgin/Richard Branson)